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Run 4 Eyes

Running the London Marathon to Raise Money for Macular Degeneration

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We Did It!

Well, it's almost a week, now, since I ran the London Marathon, and apart from being treated like a celebrity at my local (Sewerby) parkrun, this morning, I think I'm gradually coming back down to earth. But what an experience! I've titled this post, "We Did It", because although I ran the 26.2 miles around the streets of London, YOU, my dear readers boosted my fundraising to its current amount... in excess of £6,500.00.

So a massive WELL DONE to all of us... you all know who you are!

While in London we stayed at a lovely hotel just a few minutes walk from the start of the race, so there was no anxiety about getting to the start on time.

Afterwards, though, because the race begins in Greenwich and ends on the Mall, we had to make our way by train, back across the River Thames. I thought that might have been a problem, but thanks to excellent directions from my Londoner FB Friend, Don, there wasn't a hitch (apart from wading through the crowds to get to Charing Cross!).

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Saturday morning, the day before the race, was really windy...

But it WAS Saturday morning and I WAS missing parkrun, so I braved the near-hurricane-force winds and did my usual 5K in the park (Greenwich Park, or Blackheath to be more accurate).

Fast forward to Sunday, and although the race wasn't due to start until 10:10 a.m., I was required to report to the BBC Hospitality Suite near the start line, at 7:00 a.m. for a live interview on BBC Breakfast. There was a great spread and I enjoyed a cheese omelette with a little bacon and some smoked salmon. I regretted that at around Mile 6 when I realised I was in urgent need of a Porta-Potty!

Here's Jennifer helping herself to another coffee... 

Producer and interviewer Graham made everyone feel at ease, and he was interested in the 'Sim Specs' that I'd brought along. They simulate what your vision is like when you live every day with macular degeneration. In the 20 minutes following this interview, about £300.00 flowed into my JustGiving account... but even better was to come!

 

 

After the interview I got to have breakfast with the Mayor of Greenwich...

I met the charming Steph, Member of Parliament for Barnsley East...

Oh, and I got to hobnob for a couple of minutes with my hero, tennis great, Andy Murray. I apologetically asked if it would be OK to have our photo taken and Andy was very obliging and happy to share a few words (the hip's coming along fine, thank you very much, but still not sure if he'll be ready in time for Wimbledon).

Just before the race I was ferried to the Red Start area, along with a group of runners who'd come over from Londonderry, and we  did an interview with Blue Peter and special events sports commentator Radzi Chinyanganya. The last time I saw Blue Peter, John Noakes and Valerie Singleton were running the show, so I regret to say that, to my embarrassment, I didn't know Radzi... but he was very gracious about it!

And then it was back to the Hospitality Suite just in time for last-minute preparations and to be led out onto the course. For my ability level I should have started the race near the back of the field, so it was nice to be able to start right behind the elite runners, though with 26.2 miles to cover, I had to be careful to watch my pace and not be swept along too fast!

I regret that I don't have any action shots from along the way, but I did pull off on Tower Bridge to give Radzi an update and to plug my fundraising efforts.

And that is where the magic happened! Following this brief interview there was so much traffic to this little blog that it crashed... folks were unable to get on for a while. But I guess it must have come back up quite quickly, because this brief minute or so on the air resulted in my fundraising total making a quantum leap... from around £1,500.00 to more than £6,000.00!

Radzi probably (almost certainly!) doesn't read my little blog, but I would like to give him and his team a massive THANK YOU!! (and I seldom use TWO exclamation marks).

This was my fourth marathon, and each time I have managed a small Personal Best time (PB), but none has matched the 5:34:29 I achieved on Sunday, smashing my previous PB by 21 minutes. It was also the first time that I have run every step of the way. I didn't think I could do that; on previous attempts I'd never managed more than about 16 miles before resorting to a walking break. For that achievement I want to give a shout-out to fellow Bridlington Road Runner, Lisa Cockroft. Thanks, Lisa, your words spurred me on and made me believe in myself... all the way from Greenwich Park, across the Thames, past the Cutty Sark, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace to the finish line on the Mall! 

The support from the people of London--men, women, and many small children--was just out of this world, and to be shouted on by a handful of local runners from my club and parkrun was extra special, so thank you Mandy Miller, Julia Waines, and Martin McPheat... you really did make a difference!

I've had more spectacular bling, to be honest, but this one is special!

When I got on the train and opened my phone I found that I had 251 emails, all but two or three from JustGiving, notifying me of new donations received during the race!

And thence (after a walk up a pretty steep hill from Blackheath Station), back to the hotel for a (I think) well-deserved pint from the Meantime Brewery of Greenwich (so clever these days with their names, these breweries!).

Well that's appropriate... the picture came out horizontal and that's just how I was at that stage.

But not deterred, I've already booked the hotel for next year in the hope (and anticipation) of getting another 'Good for Age' place, in the London Marathon 2020 (bet you didn't 'see' that coming). I also hope to be raising money again for the Macular Society, but I won't know definitely until around the end of August.

In the (Greenwich) meantime, there's still plenty of time to add to this year's tally. 

Just click on the JustGiving link below:

JustGiving 

  Thank You!

 

 

 

 

 

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